MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Meyer had a tough season debut in relief against the Tigers in Friday's 9-2 loss, but the right-hander is still on schedule to make his first start of the season against the Astros on Tuesday.
Meyer, who hadn't pitched since April 20 after being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Monday, showed some rust, as he gave up two runs on five hits and a walk in his inning of work. Meyer, ranked as the club's No. 11 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, hit as high as 96 mph on the radar gun, but he said he lacked command.
"It was good to get out there and face some hitters, but obviously, it didn't go like I wanted it to," Meyer said. "But it was good to get out there and try to get my breaking ball over the plate and get some fastball command back. I have to do a better job of getting guys out and finishing them off."
Manager Paul Molitor wanted Meyer to see action in the game because of his long layoff in between appearances. Meyer came in with one out in the eighth and allowed consecutive singles to permit an inherited run to score. He issued a walk to load the bases with one out, but he got out of the jam. Meyer came back out for the ninth, but he recorded only one out with two runs scoring. He was taken out after throwing 29 pitches.
"We tried to keep him around 30 pitches," Molitor said. "We were hoping he'd be able to get through the eighth and ninth there, but I didn't want him to go too far with Tuesday, coming back on three days' rest."
The 26-year-old right-hander said his outing will essentially serve as his bullpen session leading up to his start, but that he expects to throw a light bullpen session on Sunday. Tuesday will be his first career start in the Majors after two relief appearances last year and his outing on Friday. He excelled as a starter at Rochester before being called up, posting a 1.04 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks in 17 1/3 innings.
"It's going to fun," Meyer said. "I'm ready for it. I've been starting this year. It'll be good. I'm just anxious to get back out there. I just have to get guys out."
• Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right intercostal, is set to start his rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Saturday night. He'll play seven innings at third base on Saturday and a full game at third base on Sunday. He's set to come off the disabled list on Tuesday in Houston if all goes well.
• Right-hander Ervin Santana, on the DL with back spasms, threw a light bullpen session before Saturday's game. He remains on track to be activated shortly after he's eligible on Thursday, which is an off-day for the Twins.